KUALA BESUT, July 25- The Barisan Nasional (BN) retained the Kuala Besut state seat in a by-election here today when its candidate, Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abdul Rahman beat PAS’ Endot @ Azlan Yusof with an increased majority of 2,592-vote majority.
With the victory, the BN continues to hold the reins with a two-seat majority (BN 17, Pakatan 15) in the state assembly.
Returning officer A Rahim Jusoh announced that the BN garnered 8,288 votes against PAS’ 5,696 votes. There were 125 spoilt votes.
The victory was a repeat of the 1979 Kuala Besut by-election when the BN wrested the seat during Ramadan.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the BN victory in Kuala Besut was a sign of the support of the people to the BN and confidence in the BN government to continue to look after the welfare of the people of Terengganu.
Muhyiddin, who is also the BN election director for the by-election, said despite it being challenging campaigning during Ramadan, the coalition’s “man marking” approach had a positive impact on voters and what was to be more proud of was that the BN won in all polling districts this time around as compared to only six in the general election on May 5 (GE13).
“With this victory, BN gives the assurance that all projects planned for Kuala Besut will be expedited including the project to deepen the Sungai Besut estuary costing RM250 million, which was approved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,” he told reporters at the vote-tallying centre at the Besut District Council hall here.
Commenting on the majority secured by the BN candidate, Muhyiddin said although there was a drop in the voter turnout, nevertheless the BN was still able to increase its majority as compared to the majority obtained in GE 13.
According to him, the BN’s success in Kuala Besut was due to the close cooperation between the federal election machinery and and state election machinery under Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and Besut Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who is also the BN’s deputy election director for the by-election.
Muhyiddin said the victory showed that the BN was still loved by the people of Kuala Besut.
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said said the victory would bring more development to Kuala Besut and the surrounding areas.
He said he was confident that the newly elected representative was capable of carrying out his responsibilities with flying colours.
“I am thankful with the victory as it reflects the people’s acceptance of the BN,” he told reporters after the announcement of the result here Wednesday night.
“I pledge to help improve the socio-economic well-being of the people, especially fishermen and farmers in Kuala Besut,” he said.
“I wish to thank the BN machinery from throughout Terengganu and the country, the members of whom gave their wholehearted effort throughout the campaigning period,” he said.
In this by-election, the BN adopted the slogan ‘Kuala Besut Bertambah Biru’ (Kuala Besut Becomes More Blue). Blue is the colour of the BN.
Campaigning for the by-elction lasted 12 days from July 12.
PAS on the other had campaigned on the slogan ’16-16 Terengganu Baru’ (16-16 a new Terengganu) on the premise that if its candidate won, it would lead to a 16-16 situation in the 32-seat state assembly.
The party’s election charge was led by Datuk Husam Musa, PAS’ assemblyman for Salor in Kelantan.
The Kuala Besut seat fell vacant on June 26 following the death of BN assemblyman Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar.
He had won the seat with a 2,434 majority in the general election, on May 5, by beating Napisah Ismail of PAS.